Ella is currently going through a bit of a mermaid obsession (as you can see with our mermaid teepee, mermaid slime, and mermaid lunches), and I’ve tried to use that interest in our homeschooling by focusing on oceans – geographic ocean placement, ocean life, and so on.
Recently, after observing some videos of how different sea creatures walk on land, we decided to make a turtle and crab craft — a floating turtle and crab craft!
We always have a bag of recyclables ready when we want to get crafty, and Ella immediately picked out some applesauce containers for “shells.” We discussed how we would transform the applesauce containers into turtles and crabs, and we were stuck between using pipecleaners or craft foam, until it occurred to me that we might be able to make these crafts float if we used craft foam.
(I didn’t share this thought with Ella, however, because I wasn’t positive that it would work and I wanted her to not judge the “success” of her craft on such a odd criteria.)
Check out our quick video to see how to make your own floating turtles and crabs to use in your water table or sensory bin – and then scroll down for the full instructions:
Materials Needed for this Floating Turtle Craft:
- applesauce or pudding containers
- school glue
- paint (green and red for us)
- craft foam
- googly eyes, optional
- paint brush
- container for paint-glue mixture
- kitchen tray for containing the craft mess
Mix equal parts glue and paint, and then add just enough extra paint to get the right hue. As we learned with our Chinese Dragon Craft, paint won’t stick to plastic on it’s own – you need to add a bit of glue to stop it from flaking.
Paint the inside of the applesauce container with your paint mixture – this will further reduce flaking but it also a good idea if you plan to use your craft in the water.
While the applesauce container is drying, pull up some pictures of crabs and turtles on your computer – or find some in a book.
Trace an applesauce container onto the craft foam, and then encourage your child to draw the legs, heads, tails, claws, etc, of the animals they are crafting around the container’s outline. Ella went freestyle with the crab and created a “template” for the turtles legs — I love watching how crafts can encourage children to think critically and creatively.
Once the paint has dried, attach the applesauce container to the craft foam with glue. You can also attach googly eyes at this point, or draw them on yourself.
While the glue is drying, set up a water table or tub with water. If your child knows that the craft will float, you can describe setting up the water table as setting up a mini-ocean for the turtle and crab, and discuss what different aspects of the ocean you can gather to recreate their native habitats: grass for seaweed, seashells, a bit of sand, etc.
Once everything is good and dried, encourage your child to gently place their floating turtle and crab crafts on the water. These crafts can handle some submerging and splashing, but we were pretty gentle with ours so as to not tear the craft foam.